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Sign-up for the 2020 Minnesota 4-H Engineering Design Challenge!

Mission to Mars logo

The 2020 Minnesota 4-H Engineering Design Challenge is here! This year’s theme, Mission to Mars, is sure to be a fun and challenging opportunity for youth to apply engineering design practices, develop teamwork and communications skills, address an issue and design a solution. 

What is the Engineering Design Challenge?

In the Minnesota 4-H Engineering Design Challenge, youth not only employ physics and engineering, but humor and storytelling, to create a Rube Goldberg™ type of machine. A Rube Goldberg™ machine is an overly complex contraption that uses everyday items in a fun or amusing way to complete a task.

  • The 4-H Engineering Design Challenge offers a Level 1 experience for youth in grades 3-8 who create a machine that uses a series of simple machines (inclined plane, screw, wedge, level, wheel and axle, pulley) to accomplish the task theme.
  • In Level 2, youth in grades 7-12 incorporate four categories of engineering in their machines to accomplish the task: mechanical, chemical, electrical and fluid power.

Teams that build a machine can demonstrate their machine at their county fair, the Engineering Design Challenge State Showcase, the Minnesota State Fair Showcase and anywhere they would like to share their learning.

Want to learn more?

All the updated information for the challenge including specific challenge details, the 2020 updated Level 1 and Level 2 handbooks, team registration links, learning resources, and more can be found on the state 4-H Engineering Design Challenge webpage ( New resources connected to this year's Mission to Mars theme are launching soon!


We are looking forward to a successful year of 4-H Engineering Design Challenge program offerings! For registration questions, contact Amber Greeley ( For all other questions, contact Michael Compton ( at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development.

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